Case of Nigerian pastor accused of rape, trafficking has been postponed

2017-12-05 17:59

The case against the Nigerian pastor who faces counts of rape, sexual assault and human trafficking has been postponed to January 29 next year.

Timothy Omotoso (59), a Durban-based televangelist, appeared at the Port Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court alongside two female co-accused today. The women were arrested after allegedly recruiting young girls for Omotoso. The girls were allegedly then sent to a house in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, where they were sexually exploited.

Omotoso also faces a charge of fraud after it emerged by the state that his visa was obtained illegally.

He was arrested at the Port Elizabeth airport on April 20 when a group of heavily armed SAPS members swooped in on him at the arrivals section.

He has since been in police custody.

Omotoso appeared before the court in May, when he made his first bail application, while more than 1000 of his supporters waited outside.

Hawks chief investigating officer Peter Plaatjies said at the time that Omotoso was protected by high-level officials.

“Pastor Omotoso has a thick wall of protocol around him; this wall is made up of ex-convicts, who serve as his bodyguards and various officials of the state, at different levels, including police officials,” said Plaatjies.

Speaking to City Press this afternoon, National Prosecuting Authority Port Elizabeth communications manager Tsepo Ndwalaza said that the case was postponed because the location of where the case is to be heard still needs to be decided.

“We need to get a centralisation certificate from the national director of public prosecutions and a decision needs to be taken as to where the actual case happens. There are different victims from various provinces who are involved in this case so the actual case depends on where the director decides,” Ndwalaza said.

He also said that since there were two more people who have since been arrested, the director of public prosecutions would need to see if they could be charged with racketeering.

“A certificate is issued by the national director to decide where the case is going to happen. That is a centralisation certificate,” he explained.

Ndwalaza was unable to comment on the fate of the victims who were allegedly held at the house in Umhlanga.

Avantika Seeth
Multimedia journalist
City Press
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March 18 2018